Austria midfielder Harnik returns for Ireland qualifier
Hannover midfielder Martin Harnik has been summoned by Austria for next week's World Cup qualifier against Ireland and a friendly against Slovakia.
Harnik, who missed the games against Wales and Serbia in October with a calf injury, replaces Sturm Graz striker Deni Alar in the 23-man squad announced yesterday by coach Marcel Koller.
“He is fit again and playing well. He is an important player for us,” Koller said about Harnik, who scored 14 goals in 61 games for the team.
Frankfurt goalkeeper Heinz Lindner has been added because Koller's first-choice goalkeeper, Rober Almer, was ruled out for six months with a knee injury.
Austria plays Ireland at the Ernst Happel Stadium in Vienna on 12 November, and hosts Slovakia at the same venue three days later.
After three qualifying matches, Ireland and Serbia lead Group D with seven points. Wales has five points and Austria has four.
“It's an important game at home,” Koller said.
“They play a British type of football, physically strong, and are dangerous going forward. They are patient, don't get hectic. It's a tough task for us.”